The most common type of moxibustion therapy used in the clinic is moxa stick moxibustion, also called suspended moxibustion, which treats the body surface without touching the skin.
Moxa stick moxibustion stimulates acupoints without touching them through the radiant heat produced by a burning stick of moxa. Moxibustion regulates the body’s physiological functions and affects pathology to prevent and treat disease. With a long history, Moxibustion has the following functions: warming and unblocking the channels and collaterals, harmonizing qi and blood, and balancing yin and yang. It is said in Basic Questions – Treatise on the Appropriateness of Different Methods According to Locality, “The north is a land where heaven and earth are hidden. The people live on high hills, and the wind is cold and icy. People prefer open fields and eat dairy products. Cold in the Zang organs causes diseases of fullness, which should be treated with moxibustion. Thus moxibustion came from the north.” Moxa stick moxibustion can be used widely in diseases involving heat, cold, deficiency, excess, yin or yang, and located on the exterior or interior. It is an effective technique that is easy to learn and apply. It makes patients feel comfortably warm, it is also popular for its affordability, safety, and convenience.
4 Effects of Moxa Stick Moxibustion
First, it warms the channels, dissipates cold, moves qi, unblocks the collaterals, and relieves bì. The movement of qi and blood is enhanced by the warmth and hindered by cold. Thus all diseases related to stagnation of qi and blood, or obstruction of the channels and collaterals, can be treated with moxa stick moxibustion.
Second, Moxa stick moxibustion can reinforce yang to rescue from desertion, raise yang and lift the sunken. Prolapse and severe collapse can occur if yang qi is deficient and insecure. The moxa used in moxibustion is yang natured, so when combined with fire can boost qi, warm yang, raise yang, lift the sunken, and reinforce yang to rescue from desertion. Desertion of yang qi and prolapse due to qi deficiency can both be treated with moxa stick moxibustion.
Third, Moxa stick moxibustion can discharge heat, draw out toxins, dissolve stasis and dissipate masses. As early as The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, it was understood that moxa stick moxibustion could be used to treat abscesses. Later, Important Formulas Worth a Thousand Gold Piecesstated that moxibustion could discharge excess heat in the zang-fu organs, indicating that the use of moxibustion in heat patterns is not contraindicated. Introduction to Medicine states, “Moxibustion is used in heat patterns to disperse constrained fire. This is because fire likes dryness.” According to the Golden Mirror of the Medical Tradition, moxibustion can dissipate masses and draw out toxins. Stasis forms when cold slows the movement of qi and blood. Moxibustion can dissipate stasis and masses by warming yang and moving qi. The application of moxibustion in heat and stasis patterns thus has a solid theoretical foundation.
Fourth, Moxa stick moxibustion can prevent disease, help maintain health and lengthen the lifespan. One of the most important TCM principles is that disease should be prevented from arising. Moxa stick moxibustion not only helps prevent disease but also aids in health maintenance and lengthens the lifespan. The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic states, “Apply three cones of moxa to the place bitten by a dog. This is dog-injury moxibustion.” The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustionstates that moxibustion can prevent wind stroke. The Teachings of Bian Que point out that when there is no disease, moxibustion on CV 4 (guān yuán), CV 6 (qì hăi), and GV 4 (mìng mén) can lengthen the lifespan. There is also a folk saying, “Long-term administration of moxibustion on ST 36 (zúsān lĭ) will keep disease away.” Moreover, modern scientific research has shown that moxibustion can boost the immune system.